JERUSALEM — Israel will attack Iran if it doesn't abandon its nuclear program, a Cabinet minister hoping to replace embattled Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was quoted Friday as saying.
Shaul Mofaz, a former chief of staff and defense minister, also said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for Israel's destruction, "will disappear before Israel does," the Yediot Ahronot daily reported.
Mofaz's spokeswoman did not return a call seeking comment on the remarks, which were more explicit than what Olmert has said.
Olmert has gone no further than hinting Israel was prepared to use force against Iranian nuclear facilities, saying this week that "the Iranian threat must be stopped by all means."
According to the newspaper report, Mofaz — who is now transportation minister — has concluded international sanctions haven't curbed Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
"If Iran continues its nuclear arms program — we will attack it," he was quoted as saying. "The sanctions aren't effective. There will be no choice but to attack Iran to halt the Iranian nuclear program."
Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful and designed to produce energy.